presidential pardons

Who is Abraham Bolden Sr.? Former Secret Service Agent From Chicago Among Biden's First Pardons

The White House on Tuesday announced President Joe Biden's first three granted pardons of his term: two who were convicted on drug-related charges but went on to become pillars in their communities, and one Kennedy-era Secret Service agent convicted of federal bribery charges.

That agent is Chicagoan Abraham W. Bolden Sr., 86, and he was the first Black Secret Service agent to serve on a presidential detail.

Bolden served on President John F. Kennedy's detail and in 1964 faced federal bribery charges that he attempted to sell a copy of a Secret Service file.

His first trial ended in a hung jury.

Following Bolden's conviction in a second trial, key witnesses admitted lying at the prosecutor's request. Bolden was denied a retrial and served several years in federal prison.

The former agent has maintained his innocence, and received numerous honors and awards for his ongoing work to speak out against the racism he faced in the Secret Service in the 1960s, and his courage in challenging injustice. Bolden has also been recognized for his many contributions to his community following his release from prison.

Who Else did President Biden Pardon?

Also granted clemency was Betty Jo Bogans, 51, of Texas, who was convicted convicted in 1998 of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine in Texas after attempting to transport drugs for her boyfriend and his accomplice. Bogans, a single mother with no prior record, received a seven-year sentence.

President Biden also pardoned Dexter Jackson, 52, of Athens, Georgia. Jackson was convicted in 2002 for using his pool hall to facilitate the trafficking of marijuana. Jackson pleaded guilty and acknowledged he allowed his business to be used by marijuana dealers.

After Jackson was released from prison, he converted his business into a cellphone repair service that employs local high school students through a program that provides young adults with work experience. Jackson has built and renovated homes in his community, which has a shortage of affordable housing.

The Democratic president also commuted the sentences of 75 others for nonviolent, drug-related convictions.

The White House announced the clemencies Tuesday as it launched a series of job training and reentry programs for those in prison or recently released.

This story has been updated to correct when Bolden served on President John F. Kennedy's detail and when Bolden faced federal bribery charges.

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